EJC takes part in commemoration marking 80 years since the deportation of Macedonian Jews

The Jewish community in the Republic of North Macedonia held commemoration ceremonies in the cities of Skopje, Bitola and Stip marking the 80th anniversary of the deportation of 7144 Macedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp. The events were organised under the patronage of the country’s government.

The European Jewish Congress was represented by Head of Projects and Diplomatic Affairs Maria Bagdasarova and Head of Crisis Management Elie Kagan.

The events in Skopje commenced with a march under the slogan “Never Again!” from the Museum of the City of Skopje, the Old Railway Station, and a commemoration ceremony at the Old Monopol Tobacco Factory – the same places where Jews were deported from in March 1943. The participants were addressed by President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Bytyqi, President of the Macedonian Jewish Community Pepo Levi, MK Hamad Amar, Chair of the Israel-North Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group, and Ernest Herzog, World Jewish Congress Representative in South-East Europe. Maria Bagdasarova delivered remarks on behalf of the European Jewish Congress.

The events proceeded with wreath-laying ceremonies at the monument to the deported Jews in Skopje and at the city’s cemetery and closed with a commemorative concert at the National Opera and Ballet which was addressed by Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevski, Israeli Ambassador to the Republic of North Macedonia Simona Frankel and Rabbi Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee.

The opening of the exhibition “Macedonia Remembers. Never Forget” of the State Archive of the Republic of North Macedonia in cooperation with the Institute for National History was also held at the Holocaust Memorial Center of the Jews of Macedonia.

During the World World Two, the territory of the present-day Republic of North Macedonia was occupied and administered by the Nazi Germany ally Bulgaria, whose pro-fascist authorities rounded up Jews from Vardar Macedonia and Greek Thrace in March 1943. 7144 Jews from Skopje, Bitola and Stip comprising 98 percent of Macedonia’s wartime Jewish population were deported and exterminated in the Treblinka death camp.